Social media in the classroom
Use of Twitter and Facebook becoming more prominent
In the days of Tweeting, Facebooking, Youtubing and Pinteresting, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the use of social media is also becoming more prominent in the classroom.
University professors and high school teachers are using social media as a method of teaching, incorporating it into lectures and lessons as a way of communicating with students.
Students who use Twitter in the classroom are more likely to raise their GPA by 0.5 points, and teachers can encourage shy students to engage by having the class tweet their answers rather than saying them out loud, according to a recent study from Pennsylvania’s Lock Haven University.
Academic areas of MRU are currently looking into creating guidelines for faculty use of social media in the classroom but it could be 2013 before official guidelines are created, said Karen Richards, MRU’s word of mouth marketing strategist.
A number of university professors have started to use Twitter and Facebook for classes, such as setting up Twitter accounts or Facebook groups in which students can follow and have virtual discussions.
At the University of Calgary assistant English professor Michael Ullyot is using Twitter as a way of allowing students to tweet “thought-provoking questions about the plays and readings,” according to the Calgary Herald.
Despite increased use of social media as a form of student/teacher interaction, for MRU students who have long since enjoyed the benefits of small class sizes, tweeting with professors might seem like taking social media to the extreme.
“I think it would be a distraction,” said Kayla Forsberg, a part-time student at MRU, in response to the Herald’s article. “I would be tweeting my professor plus every other person on my list.”
Twitter and Facebook have become a common, almost necessary part of every day life. Although there is a shift toward a technology dominated way of life, some MRU students report that they don’t want it in their classrooms.
“I pay thousands of dollars a year for an education, I’d rather not have it dumbed down to 140 characters,” said Chelsey Heath-Smith, a fourth year psychology major.
While the current discourse on social media is vast, there are definitely still students who prefer the old fashioned way of teaching: face-to-face.